All New All Different Avengers is a title that continues to be a rather unimpressive re-imagining of the Avengers franchise. The title has dropped down to the low 50K to high 40K unit range per month. The sales numbers are not impressive at all considering that this is supposed to be Marvel’s flagship title and the franchise that enjoys the reputation of being the most successful super hero movies in box office history. Marvel’s goal for this title is still a head scratcher. It is tough to say what logic Marvel is employing with this title if the goal is to increase readership and to gain sales numbers based on the Avengers massive box office success and huge increase in the general public’s knowledge of the Avengers franchise. Maybe Marvel will get things turned out with the appearance of the Wasp in All New All Different Avengers #9. Let’s hit this review.
Words: Mark Waid
Art: Mahmud Asrar
Colors: Dave McCaig
Story Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Jarvis cleaning mold off the walls of the old hangar that is the new base for the All New All Different Avengers. Jarvis complains about how crappy the hangar is compared to the Avengers Mansion. (Jarvis…I feel you bro. I view this scene as metacommentary on how the All New All Different Avengers is crappy compared to the real Avengers roster that we used to get before Axel went all New 52 crazy with the Marvel Universe.) Jarvis enters the main hangar with some tea and we see the Detroit Avengers doing practice drills. Suddenly, they are attacked by solar rays that rip through the hangar wall. Iron Man and Nova search the skies above the hangar to signs of an attacker. There is none. Miles Morales says that his spider-sense is tingling so they should not let their guard down just yet.
Ms. Marvel touches one of the holes in the wall where the solar blasts tore through and exclaims “Yow! Hottt!” (Wow. Ms. Marvel continues to certify herself as a real mensa member. Yes. Touching hot metal that was just melted by large solar blasts might indeed be hot. Yeah, I want a moron like this watching my back during a fight with super villains. And how do you say the word “Hotttt?” I get emphasizing and/or drawing out the “H” or the “O.” But, how do you emphasis or draw out a “T?”) Vision examines the blast holes and say they look like ones made from his solar blasts.
Iron Man says that would be impossible because Vision was standing with them. Vision replies “I will be, yes.” Vision then catches himself and says that he has no idea why he used the future tense. He has no idea why he misspoke. Suddenly, another laser blast comes down from the ceiling of the hangar. Vision says that he has a biological reading of someone in the room even though none of the members of the Junior Avengers can see this mysterious attacker. Miles Morales manages to pluck something out of the air. Suddenly, some energy beams project out of Miles’ clenched fist. Miles opens his hand and suddenly the All New All Different Wasp appears on the scene. (Welcome, Hope Van Dyne to the Marvel Comics Universe! Makes total sense given the success of the Ant-Man movie and that Hope is going to be the Wasp in the second Ant-Man movie. This is actually not a bad move by Marvel. Janet is not in the movie and, as much as I love Janet’s character, she does have a ton of baggage. I understand why Marvel would want a fresh start and to create come synergy with their much more successful Marvel Movie Universe.)
The Wasp puts her hands up and says that she is on the Avengers’ side and that she is the Wasp. Jarvis absolutely freaks out and yells “Absolutely not!” Jarvis rants that there is only one Wasp: Janet Van Dyne. That Janet is sharp and brave and that Janet is far superior to any imposter. (Good lord. Waid has to really stop being so incredibly defensive and always placing a straw man in his story in order to make any criticism to his approach as being baseless. Once again, Waid picks a character in the story to voice the popular position of Marvel’s critics when it comes to unnecessarily replacing a beloved and established character. Waid can use Jarvis’ rant to answer the criticism of readers and to render their objections as foolish. Dude, just focus on trying to tell the best story you can and have confidence in what you are doing.)
Wasp removes her helmet as says that she is Janet’s step-daughter. (Huh, wait, what? This is not going to be Hope Van Dyne?) We then see two Visions simultaneously saying “Curious.” One of the Visions only has one arm. The one-armed Vision repeats what Vision said earlier about the blast holes being like ones made from his solar blasts. Then the two armed Vision fades away leaving behind the one-armed Vision. (What the hell? This is done so clumsily.)
Wasp offers to help with Vision. Iron Man declines her help and tells Miles to web up Wasp while they deal with her next. (Wait? Why? She just put her hands up and said she is not attacking them and she is on their side. She isn’t doing anything aggressive and has taken off her helmet and has offered to help. This makes absolutely zero sense. Is Waid even awake when he is writing this story?) Miles goes to web up Wasp and she evades his webs. Jarvis then easily grabs the Wasp and sits her down and asks her for her name. (So, Miles with his super spider powers is unable to lay a finer on the flying acrobatic Wasp. But, the fat, unathletic 50 see year old butler has no problem corralling her. Got it.)
Wasp says that her name is Nadia and that “they” never gave her a last name. (Fucking hilarious. So, this is not Hope Van Dyne at all. Unbelievable. Axel Alsonso continues to show that he truly is the disciple of Dan Didio with a stunning lack of logic or savvy. Why in the hell would they not use Hope from the Marvel Movie Universe?! I am speechless. Truly a mind numbingly dumb decision from a business standpoint.) Iron Man proceeds to check on Vision while Jarvis continues to question the Wasp.
Jarvis asks who is “them” and what are the names of her real parents. Nadia says that he dad is Hank Pym and her mom is Hank’s wife, but she is cut off by Jarvis screaming for her to not say it. That Janet was Hank Pym’s wife. (Waid still using Jarvis as the straw man for the readers out there who are inevitable lampooning this all new all different Wasp. Makes for lovely reading.) Nadia answers “Maria Pym.” Maria was Hank’s first wife. (Yeah, this is way less convoluted than just making the new Wasp Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne’s daughter. Yes, indeed.)
Miles mentions to Nova and Ms. Marvel that he is totally lost. Ms. Marvel replies that she is not lost. That before Hank Pym became Ant-Man that he was married to Maria Trovaya. That Maria got kidnapped and killed by foreign agents. (Stares blankly into the unending abyss What. The. Hell. How in the world does Ms. Marvel suddenly have all of this knowledge of a retcon that absolutely nobody else seems to know about at all. Seriously? How can Waid expect to the reader to take anything in this story seriously at this point? This is some lazy writing. Is Waid just spending all of his time on Twitter and simply mailing it in with these issues?)
Iron Man says that it is possible that Maria was pregnant and that Hank never knew. (This is some Dallas level bad writing.) Nadia says that Hank would have come for her if he had known because that was the kind of father he was. Jarvis quickly agree that Hank would have come for her. Suddenly, Jarvis is all smiling and nice. Jarvis asks “What else can you tell us, dear girl?” (Is Jarvis schizophrenic? The dude has been in full rage mode from the very moment that the Wasp made her entrance. Now, with a flick of a switch he is all puppies and rainbows toward the Wasp. I give up trying to apply any semblance of intelligence or logic to this story.)
Nadia says that she does not know much. That she has no memory of her mother, Maria, and she has no real memory of the man with the star on his arm. We see a flashback scene with the Winter Soldier evidently either rescuing or kidnapping Nadia as a child. (So, has Bucky replaced Wolverine as the character who has a connection to nearly every character in the Marvel Universe? Have a shadowy origin story? Just randomly insert the Winter Soldier in there somewhere!) Nadia grew up in the Red Room in Russia. She displayed an aptitude for science. (Yes, because of your dad is a genius scientist then that means all of his offspring will inherit this mythical “genius science gene.”) All Nadia did was study science and she lived a lonely solitary life. Nadia followed all of Hank Pym’s research. (So, she really is not a genius, after all. She just piggybacks on the work that Pym had already completely. Got it.)
Nadia said that the Russians supplied her with some Pym Particles procured via the black market. (I.E. Bucky shooting people in the head and stealing the Pym Particles. Okay, I just made that up. But, this story is so mind numbingly stupid that I’m trying to entertain myself. And cool Winter Soldier action scenes are always fun.) Nadia mastered the Pym Particles. Nadia found Pym’s lab and found out that Pym was dead. (Wait, doesn’t Scott Lang now own Pym’s lab?) Nadia’s goal is to prove herself worthy of Hank Pym’s legacy. (Newsflash. You’re not. Thanks for playing!)
Jarvis whispers to Iron Man if Nadia is telling the truth. Tony says that her heart rate and blood pressure indicate that she is not lying. Nova then points out to everyone that Vision has powered down. Wasp corrects Nova that he did not power down. That he is not a robot. That he is a synthezoid built by her father’s son, Ultron, but human in structure. Wasp offers to share her father’s notes with Nova.
Nova then wonders where Vision’s arm has gone. (Really? Really? It takes five pages for someone to finally make this observation and ask this question?) Suddenly, Vision’s missing arm appears out of nowhere and phases through Nova’s chest. Ms. Marvel and Miles Morales act like the morons that they are usually written and try to pull Nova off the phantom arm until Iron Man yells at them that they will tear Nova apart trying to do that. (Yup. Really. These are the two mental midgets I want next to me in a massive fight with super villains when I get injured.)
Wasp blasts Vision’s phantom arm with one of her stingers and it immediately disrupts the polarity of the limb and causes it to fall out of Nova and materialize onto the floor. (Convenient.) We then see the arm disappear and appear onto the Vision so that he now has his two arms once again. Miles’ spider-sense goes off again. We then see another energy blast from a time displaced Vision. Miles wonders if Kang is behind this since Kang has already controlled Vision once before.
Vision continues to stand there motionless. Iron Man says that they need to find out if there is still any tech from Kang left inside of Vision. Wasp shrinks down and flies into the Vision. Nadia says that she is not going to lose Vision, too. That Vision is family. (Waid is trying way too hard with Nadia. Way too hard.) Nadia flies around and plants a bunch of little explosives inside of Vision. She flies out and the Vision then powers up and lets out a massive solar blast.
Vision collapses to the ground. His temperatures return to normal. Iron Man says whatever Nadia did it worked. (What did Nadia actually do? Who knows? Waid sure doesn’t tell us. Instead, the editor places a note saying “For more detail see the Civil War II Free Comic Book Day Special.” So, I have to go get another issue to find out what Nadia just pulled off here? That’s lazy.)
Iron Man and Nova fly the Vision off to Iron Man’s lab. Iron Man tells Nadia that she did her father proud.
We cut to “Epilogue One.” Jarvis is cleaning up the mess in the hangar. Jarvis thinks how his ability to adapt to new surrounding has its limits. Jarvis stops cleaning the hangar. Jarvis says that he will not long allow himself to be limited. We see Jarvis packing up his sweet old Aston Martin with Nadia in the passenger seat. Jarvis narrates that the only constant with the Avengers is change. That he refuses to be so set in his ways that he cannot find new ones…make new friends. (The emphasis in the text is on the word “new” both times. Jesus, Waid. The metacommentary has to end. Waid continues to use Jarvis to show readers who have not embraced the All New All Different Avengers that they are closed-minded and bad people not fully living life. Dude, how about you have confidence in what Marvel is ordering you to do and simply focusing on writing the best possible damn story rather than constantly being defensive and creating straw man arguments.) Jarvis says he is embracing new responsibilities. Jarvis drives off with Nadia and says “Let’s go meet the rest of your family.” (Riveting. I am waiting with bated breath and on the edge of my seat.)
We zip to “Epilogue Two.” We are in Iron Man’s lab. Vision and Sam Wilson (Hey! Sam is still on the team!) are there with Iron Man. Vision is angry. Tony says that they were just getting used to the unemotional Vision. Tony asks Vision what has him so mad. (Well, that was fast. The unemotional Vision storyline ran for about 8 issues.) Vision says that Kang made vision a weapon to be used against the Avengers. Vision says that it will not happen again. Vision stares at a video feed of Kang’s timeship on one of the monitors. (That’s convenient.)
Suddenly, Nova interrupts by contacting Iron Man to let him know that Nova’s dad is still lost in space. Nova says that he is heading out to space and does not know when he will be back. Nova says that he is not coming back to Earth until he finds his dad. (Awesome. Hopefully, Sam never finds his dad and we can get the adventure of Richard Rider as Nova here on Earth. Win!) Nova then signs off.
Iron Man turns to Sam and says “Sam…Let us help.” (Noooooo!!!! Dammit, my dreams have already been dashed. So quickly.) End of issue.
The Good: All New All Different Avengers #9 was another disappointing read. I am going to have to scrape the bottom of the barrel in order to find anything good about this issue. Let’s see. Well, I am glad that the emotional Vision has returned. I thought the concept of returning the Vision back to his unemotional state was a massive mistake and marked a real regression in Vision’s character growth. Hopefully, with his emotions returned, Waid is ready to give the Vision a more active and interesting role in this title.
I also have to give Waid credit in delivering a super hero comic that is appropriate for readers of absolutely any age. You could give this comic to a 6-year-old child and not have to worry about them reading anything that would be considered objectionable even by the most conservative parent’s viewpoint.
Mahmud Asrar’s art is serviceable. It gets the job done and never gets in the way of the story. Assar’s art is nothing exceptional or noteworthy. A
The Bad: All New All Different Avengers #9 was another poorly written issue. This is such a dumb read. Waid confuses making a story “all-ages” with being “stupid.” It is possible to make a super hero comic accessible by a wide age range of readers without dumbing it down so much. Waid concocts a story that is very low IQ. Part of this is due to lazy writing. Part of it is due to Waid spending more time defending his writing decisions rather than telling a story. And part of this is simply bad writing all together.
All in all, it seems that Waid is simply mailing it in with All New All Different Avengers. The work product on this title is so far below what Waid is capable of producing. I have been a long time fan of Waid’s writing. Waid has delivered some fantastic super hero stories in the past. However, Waid’s writing on All New All Different Avengers reminds me of a 35-year-old NFL running back who used to be able to dominate games but has lost his first step and explosive ability and now delivers pedestrian performances.
From a technical standpoint, All New All Different Avengers #9 is a mess. The plotting is terrible. The pacing is slow. The story meanders about with no sense of urgency or purpose. The plotting is muddled to the point where it seems that Waid has no tangible short-term or long-range plans. Up to this point, All New All Different Avengers has been a rudderless ship that is floating along in whatever direction the tide takes it. At no point does it appear that Waid has a point and purpose to All New All Different Avengers other than to chastise any critics who would dare to question Marvel’s editorially mandated direction with this title.
Seriously, Waid has to stop all of the metacommentary where he employs straw man tactics by utilizing various characters in the story to diminish any criticism of the All New All Different Avengers and to further support Marvel’s editorially mandated decisions with this title. It is unprofessional. And it makes Waid appear to be paranoid and unconfident in his writing. An author who has confidence in himself and confidence in the quality of his story never feels the need to be defensive. Writers who know that their work product is top-notch rarely every engage critics. They certainly do not waste time writing metacommentary to deal with their critics. No, those writers are so confident in the quality of the stories that they simply focus on their craft and let their story speak for itself. It is usually the unconfident who produce poor work product who are the most thin-skinned and defensive.
All New All Different Avengers #9 is an incredibly shallow read. There is no substance or depth to this issue at all. There are children’s books that have more nuance and texture than what Waid is delivering with this issue. The story is so thin that it lacks anything creative or complex that engages the reader’s mind. There is nothing in this issue that pulls the reader into the story and gets them immersed in this setting. The reader never becomes invested in the characters and their conflicts.
The character work continues to be a weak spot on this title. None of the characters have any unique or fleshed out personalities. Instead, Nova, Miles and Ms. Marvel continue to be nothing more than generic immature teens. Waid’s versions of Iron Man and Sam Wilson are about as bland as you will find. Jarvis comes across as a schizophrenic with how he verbally attacks Nadia and is aggressive to her through out the issue. Yet, in the course of one panel he shifts from angry and accusatory to kind and caring toward Nadia. It is so jarring and clumsily handled. This is a great example of where Waid lazily forces characters into acting and reacting to a certain situation just to move his plot line along with minimal effort or creativity.
Waid’s dialogue is generic at best and cheesy at worst. There are certain points where the dialogue is downright groan inducing. The result is that there is zero chemistry between the characters on this roster. Not only that, but these characters come across as dumb at best and annoying at worst. The roster for the All New All Different Avengers lacks any organic feel and comes across like a manufactured Top 40 band that is assembled by a Record Label rather than a real band who formed on their own. The overwhelming sense of artificiality to the roster of the All New All Different Avengers is a result of the editorially mandated origin of the team.
All New All Different Avengers #9 sole purpose was to introduce the “all new all different” Wasp. That is why there is no real plot progression or other plot line developments in this issue. Waid hits the pause button on the story and converts the Vision from a character into a mere plot device. The silly plot of having the Vision malfunction and attack his teammates is just so Nadia can appear, explain herself and then “heroically” save the day. It is an unintelligent as it is uncreative.
And the decision ton have Nadia No Last Name being the new Wasp instead of Hope Van Dyne? Shockingly stupid. Look, I am a fan of Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne. I love the two characters together. I also prefer the real genuine original characters to legacy characters. However, I understand why Marvel decided to shift their focus onto Scott Lang as Ant-Man instead of Hank Pym. This made sense given the success of the Ant-Man movie. I may love Pym’s character, but the fact is that Pym’s character has so much unintended and unfortunate baggage stemming from an artist’s mistake so many decades ago.
Janet, much like Hank Pym, is another character with a ton of baggage. Janet’s character is also closely tied to Pym’s character. So, the decision to shift focus away from Janet also makes sense. However, the decision to create Nadia No Last Name as the new Wasp instead of Hope Van Dyne is stupid. From a business standpoint and a creative standpoint having Nadia as the new Wasp is dumb.
Due to the success of the Ant-Man movie and the Captain America: Civil War movie, the general public now know Ant-Man quite well. Scott Lang has gone from an obscure character to one known by a wide cross-section of viewers. Hope Van Dyne was introduced in the Ant-Man movie. Hope was a major character in the movie. Hope will also be the Wasp in the second Ant-Man movie. Hope is a character that is now known by the general public. It only makes sense to use Hope as the new Wasp in the comic. This feeds off the success of the Ant-Man movie and is consistent with how Marvel is now handling Ant-Man/Scott Lang’s character much more consistent with the Ant-Man/Scott Lang character from the Ant-Man movie.
If Marvel Comics wants to benefit from the massive success of Marvel Studios and create any synergy at all then the smarter choice would have been to go with Hope Van Dyne as the new Wasp. There is a reality facing Marvel Comics and many comic book fans that they do not want to admit. That reality is that Marvel Studios is now the straw that stirs the drink and not Marvel Comics. Marvel Comics reaches a fraction of the audience that Marvel Studios now reaches. Marvel Comics makes a fraction of the money that Marvel Studios makes. Marvel Comics should fall in line and do what is best for business and support the Marvel Studios films because that is their best chance for success. It is Marvel Comics’ best chance for pulling in new readers who enjoy the Marvel Studios movies.
But, no. Instead, Marvel Comics gives as Nadia No Last Name as the new Wasp. This is a shining example of how most of the change brought by the All New All Different Marvel Universe is mere change for the sake of change. It is change without any thought or logic. Change without any point or purpose. I honestly never thought anything could be dumber than DC’s New 52. But, Marvel Comics is quickly proving me wrong with most of their decisions with the All New All Different Avengers. Axel Alonso is truly proving himself to be a true disciple of Dan Didio.
Overall: All New All Different Avengers #9 is another poorly crafted comic. I am unsure who exactly is the target audience for this comic book. Maybe for kids who have no idea who the Avengers are? I know my two young sons have no interest in this comic because it does not star the “real” Avengers. Most kids, like my sons, look to the Avengers movie for guidance as to who is a “real” Avenger or not. Long-time readers are not the target audience with this title. Readers who demand an intelligent story are not the target audience with this title. Readers who want great action and adventure are not the target audience, either. I am unsure who Marvel thinks they are pursuing with this comic.
I certainly would not recommend spending your hard-earned money on All New All Different Avengers #9. There are so many other superior super hero comics on the market that are far more deserving of your money. I would only recommend All New All Different Avengers #9 if you are a die-hard fan of one of the characters on this roster.